We all know the smooth, creamy delicious appeal of peanut butter. On its own or paired with another complementary food item, such as jelly or bananas, the allure of peanut butter is hard to resist, and peanut butter is good for you because it is filled with nutritional value. It’s hard to imagine life without peanut butter, but it appeared not too long ago, in 1904 at the World’s Fair in Saint Louis. Thinking of peanut butter leads to another question: have you ever asked yourself: is a peanut a nut — or a vegetable?
That is actually a very good question! We’ll get to the answer of the question about “is a peanut a nut” at the end of this piece. In the meantime, here are seven great health facts about peanuts–plus one bonus fact. These peanut facts are related to the benefits and advantages of peanuts.
So while you are pondering the question about “is a peanut a nut”, you may also want to consider these statistics the next time you’re in the store and considering buying some peanut snacks.
Peanuts are Good Brain Food
Not only are peanuts a delicious high protein snack, but the are really good for your brain and have been shown to improve brain function.
Peanuts Help Fight Disease
Harvard research showed that substituting a serving of red meat with a high protein food, such as peanuts, is associated with a healthier biomarker profile (from The Peanut Institute).
Peanuts Help Boost Vitamin Levels
According to a study of 15,000 Americans, those who are peanuts had better Recommended Daily Allowance levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium and more.
Peanuts Help Keep Your Weight Down
Yes, you read that correctly. The Peanut Institute reports that eating peanuts is beneficial for weight maintenance.
Peanut Calories are Not to Be Feared
Forget what you have heard about peanut calories and peanut recipes. There is no reason to fear peanut calories! On the contrary, peanuts are a high protein snack. Since the amount of protein in an ounce of peanuts (about a handful) totals 7 grams, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, they are an outstanding source of protein.
Food-Related Peanut Allergies
We hear a lot about peanut allergies, especially in food. There are actually four different kinds of peanuts–Valencias, Spanish, Runners and Virginia. These types of peanuts are used around the world. Yet, there is a very comforting fact to keep in mind: a significant percentage of U.S. children (over 98%) can enjoy peanut-containing foods and peanuts safely, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Peanut Butter is at Least 90% Peanuts
What about the nutritional value of peanut butter, you may ask; well, one 12-ounce jar of peanut butter contains about 540 peanuts, according to the National Peanut Board. And to be labeled ‘peanut butter’ the FDA requires that the peanut butter is made up of at least 90% peanuts. Just one more of the interesting facts about peanut butter.
Peanut Oil has Many Uses
And here’s a bonus fact: there are a lot of different peanut oil uses! Here are a couple of uses that might surprise you. Peanut oil is great in peanut recipes, as in using peanut oil for cooking. Peanut oil for frying is especially popular. Another use is peanut oil for hair–it is very beneficial, adding moisture and thickening the hair very nicely.
With all these benefits, it’s clear to see that the advantages of peanuts in a healthy well-balanced diet. And now, to answer the question: is a peanut a nut– or a vegetable?
The answer is that along with peas and beans, peanuts grow underground and belong to the legumes family (Leguminosae). Legumes are seeds that are edible (such as peanuts) that grow in pods. Nuts, on the other hand, like almonds and walnuts, grow on trees and are considered drupes, according to The Peanut Institute.
But no matter how you look at it, the benefits of peanuts make eating them a wonderful, healthy lifestyle choice.
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